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Dales Plants and Gardens 1900-1960: growing food

Article Index

  1. Dales Plants and Gardens 1900-1960: growing food
  2. Interviewee backgrounds
  3. Land and weather
  4. Gardens and allotments
  5. Gardening practicalities
  6. Help in the garden, tasks for children
  7. And from the wild
  8. Cooking the produce
  9. Storage inside and outside
  10. Conclusion
  11. Endnotes and sources
  12. All Pages


Help in the garden,  children's tasks

Haytime. Moor Close Farm, Thwaite, Swaledale, 1969. Haytime at Moor Close Farm, Thwaite, Swaledale, 1969. Photograph courtesy of Ann Holubecki.Often it was the men who gardened in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. They’d learnt their skills as children at the National Schools while the girls 'did domestic'.

Our interviewees earned pocket money by weeding (they’d leave the weeds at the end of the vegetable row to wait for their father’s inspection), digging and shooting rats. This last task was carried out not only for parents on farms: the police gave one nine-year-old pellets and paid him 6d a rat - good money for someone who enjoyed taking pot shots at anything that moved!(Listen to Tony Dykes' oral history here)

Children as young as three were sent out to search for caterpillars and slugs, squidging them between their fingers when found. Even the hens and the pig got in on the act as they scratched and rooted for pests while at the same time fertilising the ground with dung. And if the bugs were not always found before they walked out of the lettuce leaves to die in the salad cream on the plate, 'we took no harm'.

Gardening was organic by default as chemicals were either not available or too expensive. Our interviewees remember taste, and the fact that their parents provided food for the table. Looks were only critical in show vegetables.